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ICC Note:

Syrian Christians fear an Sunni Muslim government that could replace President Assad if the regime were to collapse.

4/6/2012 Syria (BBC) – As the year-long conflict polarises Syrian society, Omar Abdel-Razek from BBC Arabic finds an Orthodox Christian community worried it could face trouble from both the government and opposition.

“The university has become a battlefield between the supporters and the opposition of the regime.”

That was what Lena (not her real name), a medical student at the University of Aleppo, had said in her email informing me that she will not be able to meet me at campus as agreed.

She continued: “As a Christian, both sides are suspicious of me. In fact I’m not with or against the regime.”

Lena said she never cared about politics until she and her family found themselves talking about it everyday when the crisis in Syria began over a year ago.

“We followed the simple rule ‘don’t talk politics’, and then you can do anything else,” she said.

In the past, when I was going to my exams, my mother’s main concern for me was to do an ‘excellent’ job. Now her main concern is for me not to take a taxi because of the kidnappings,” Lena said.

While some Christian intellectuals have openly opposed President Bashar al-Assad and were imprisoned by his regime, it seems that the majority fear the unknown if the regime were to collapse.

They cite the situation of Christians in Iraq and recently Egypt as the basis for their fear.

The Syriac Orthodox Church was once one of the major Christian churches in the Eastern Roman Empire; Syriacs translated Greek documents into Arabic.

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